Robert Henry Cooke Sr.

February 8, 1924June 22, 2020

COOKE, Robert Henry “Bob” 96, of Tampa, entered God’s Kingdom June 22, 2020. He was born on February 8, 1924 to Lewis Edward and Ruth Gilland Cooke in Elmira, NY. In 1937 Bob moved to Sarasota with his family and later graduated from Sarasota High School. He attended both Sewanee University of the South and Florida State University. While at F.S.U. he met and married Ellen Elizabeth Sperring, and graduated with a B.A. in English and Spanish in 1950. Upon graduation, he taught high school Spanish and English in Groveland, Leesburg, and Green Cove Springs, Florida. In 1953 he accepted the position of Deputy Clerk of the Federal Court for North Florida and moved to Jacksonville with his wife and three young children. In 1963 he was appointed Chief Deputy Clerk of the Federal Court for the newly created U.S. Middle District of Florida Federal Court, and relocated his family to Tampa.

In 1983 he retired, after ushering in the technological revamping of the District’s offices in Orlando, Tampa, and Ft. Myers. Upon retiring, Bob continued to serve on the Board of the Bay Gulf Federal Credit Union and traveled extensively throughout the United States, Scotland and England with his wife. He always had a keen interest in machinery and enjoyed woodworking during his retirement. Because of his servant’s heart, he devoted much of his church life to serving as a choir member, cook, offerings counter, and teacher and chaperone for teenaged youth events. He enjoyed membership at both Bayshore Baptist Church and South Tampa Fellowship, the latter providing him with deep friendships formed in the Men’s Bible Class.

Bob is survived by his wife Ellen of 70 years; children Robert Henry Cooke, Jr., Hillsborough County Deputy Sheriff, (Nancy), Steven Arthur Cooke, USF Professor, (Shelley), and Diane Elizabeth Cooke Olthoff, Music Instructor, (Steve); nine grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. His beloved siblings, Alfred Merritt Cooke, Lewis Edward Cooke Jr., and Melva Cooke Ford, predeceased him.

A celebration of life service will be announced later. To view the family memorial video please join the family at


  • Committal Service

    Monday, June 29, 2020


Robert Henry Cooke Sr.

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